Is it possible that some other car company will copy the success formula (the power train and battery pack) of the Model S/X?

Is it possible that some other car company will copy the success formula (the power train and battery pack) of the Model S/X?

Would it be possible that some day some other car company (or any other entrepeneur / thief) would also want to make money by reproducing and using Tesla's success formula (the power train and the battery pack on the skateboard) that is used for manufacturing the Model S and the Model X. They will have to develop another body for the car anyhow, but my concern is that they might copy the technology that has been developed by Tesla Motors. For example, they could buy exact the same concerning battery cells from Panasonic, just like Tesla Motors does. And they could do the same with other parts. My point is: are they allowed to manufacture a competitive EV, by making use of the technology (skateboard) that has been initially developed by Tesla Motors? Or is there some kind of a protection system that would not allow such a action to take place?

Alex K | January 31, 2013

Tesla has many patents covering their power train (see, but if that will stop someone from copying them is another story.

Benz | January 31, 2013

If this really does happen then that will be really bad for the success of Tesla Motors. Elon Musk should get some legal advise on this matter. I guess that Elon Musk does have his own legal department.

Mark22 | January 31, 2013

I suspect Elon is hoping they do follow Tesla's lead. I certainly do.
The more companies competing for our dollars the better.

I actually thought that one of the big guys would see what was possible with the Roadster and jump all over it.
With virtually unlimited R&D and huge production capabilities any of them could have squashed Tesla.

Now, they are showing their short sightedness, and Tesla is learning to walk.
If the big guys continue to ignore them, Tesla will soon be learning to run (Model X).
And then, I don't think they will be able to stop Tesla from flight (Gen III).

Tesla is a leader, and I like supporting leaders and risk takers:)

Benz | January 31, 2013

@ Mark22

Competition is good. As long as the others develop their own technology. But I was talking about what if they would just copy the technology of Tesla Motors. That is not the way it should be. Because that would not be fair for Tesla Motors.

Vawlkus | January 31, 2013

Even if someone tries, they still have about eight years of Tesla's lead to try to catch up on. I don't think it's as dangerous as you do.

danielccc | January 31, 2013

The point of the company is to shift the market towards electric cars. I am confident that Mr. Musk would be willing to license the technology on easy terms, if he believes in the intent and abilities of the license buyer.

That said, I don't think he would be willing to go as far as to open source it quite yet, since Tesla will need plenty of revenue for the next few years in order to support a solid R&D effort.

Brian H | January 31, 2013


Benz | February 1, 2013

@ danielccc

Souns realistic to me. The end goal is to get rid of oil consumption/addiction in ICE vehicles. | February 1, 2013

@danielccc: does "open source" mean give it away?

@Mark22: this reminds me of how foolishly the major brands (Nike, Adidas, Reebok, etc) viewed UnderArmor as a threat. UnderArmor is now too big and too successful to overcome.

Benz | February 1, 2013

@ TDurden

Could you tell us more about your point of view (your opinion)?

Tim Jordan | February 1, 2013

The Rav4 is a retro fit all electric and the 2014 Mercedes is using the skateboard platform. Both are major stockholders in TSLA and contributing to bring Elon's vision, to replace the ICE, to realization. GM's built the Volt as a direct response to Tesla. A hundred+ years ago (1908) Ford introduced the Model T.

"The Car of the Century (COTC) was an international award given to the world's most influential car of the 20th century. The election process was overseen by the Global Automotive Elections Foundation.[1] The winner, the Ford Model T, was announced at an awards gala on December 18, 1999 in Las Vegas, Nevada." (Wikipedia)

One hundred years later (2008) the Roadster was introduced followed by Model S in (2012)...

danielccc | February 1, 2013

@TDurden, yes. Free as in freedom, not as in beer though, so license users would have to themselves keep whatever improvements they made public as well.

I could see Tesla open sourcing their older code and specs. Keep an edge and help expand the EV market at the same time.

Or maybe not. It could create liability risks for them, for example. But Musk has said repeatedly that he wants the EV to become dominant, and I don't think he believes Tesla can take over the entire auto market, or should try. Since nobody else seems to be doing it right so far, technology transfer will need to happen one way or the other.

Brian H | February 1, 2013

Yes; in a sense, TM is expanding into a vacuum now.

Benz | February 2, 2013

@ Tim Jorden

Is the 2014 Mercedes using the same skateboard platform as Tesla Motors have used in the Model S / X?

And do you know which which model of Mercedes?

sandman | February 3, 2013

I think it very evident that Tesla is willing to license any of their patents. Elon has a passion for solving society issues. He doesn't seem to care about hoarding and crushing entire existing industries. Having said that, issuing licenses will continue to give tesla an edge as tesla benefits by raising others effective price per car and while they work with old tesla tech, tesla is working on newer tech for future cars.

teddyg | February 3, 2013

There is room for many car companies in the world as evidenced by the 50 or so we have worldwide...some make millions of cars per year, others make a few dozen...if you can turn a profit and appeal to your target market you can survive.
Tesla is rapidly establishing itself as the only EV specialist in mass production...if they continue to produce beautiful cars that people like I think they will do just fine...if Nissan et all continue to produce uninspiring EV's like the Leaf, iMiev, etc then they will continue to struggle in the EV market no matter how much money they throw at it.
I have said that Tesla should start to market itself as the only major auto manufacturer specializing in nothing but EV' the other majors won't be able to say this for a very long time. They should start to make their motto "If you are thinking electric you need to think Tesla"...i think this would be a good marketing strategy to differentiate Tesla from all the other auto companies.

Benz | February 4, 2013

I agree with you.

As long as other car companies do not develop a technology (power-train, battery packs, software etc.) which is at least as good as the technology which has been developed by Tesla Motors.

Benz | February 9, 2013

In the coming years (before 2020), Tesla Motors have to establish itself as the new high volumes car company among the other high volumes car companies. And I am sure that when GEN III will be revealed that is exactly what is going to happen.

Benz | February 12, 2013

By the way, GEN III will be revealed in 2016.